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I'm going to school Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 1st November 2004
Gear Head
scott757's Avatar

Thread Starter
I'm going to school

I've decided to go back to school to pursue a career in sound. My top two choices are Belmont in Nashville and Fullsail in Fl. Has anyone been to either of these and can make a suggestion? Which one looks better when trying to get a job? I'm going for engineering.
Old 1st November 2004
Lives for gear
Geoff_T's Avatar

Re: I'm going to school

Originally posted by scott757
I've decided to go back to school to pursue a career in sound. My top two choices are Belmont in Nashville and Fullsail in Fl. Has anyone been to either of these and can make a suggestion? Which one looks better when trying to get a job? I'm going for engineering.

Just a word of caution...

Are you going into school in order to gain qualifications for a position as an engineer or assistant engineer at a recording studio?

I don't want to be a wet blanket but you need to do some research first as to how easy it is to obtain these positions in your locality. I've heard some very sad stories... as well as success stories.

You are joining a long queue....

Old 1st November 2004
Gear Head
scott757's Avatar

Thread Starter
That makes sense. I was planning on moving to Nashville because there isn't much where I live and I figured there were more jobs there, and it would super pimp to live in Nashville. Both school has job placement, with high success rates. I guess I was hoping to find people who had been to both and start an enourmous e arguement between the two. Then after they had given each other virus' read through the thread and make my choice. But thanks for the words of wisdom.
Old 2nd November 2004
Lives for gear
djui5's Avatar

I went to FullSnail (FullScam, "Full Sail, We take your dreams......sierously") ....and wouldn't recommend attending any other school....

Then all depends on how sierous you are...if your going to just get some education.....then you might wanna find a cheaper school..
But if you are sierous about being an Engineer......not some beat maker in a bed room...then Full Sail will provide you with more than enough information to prep you for a career of the highest caliber.

There's a lot of information there...and can put you ahead of a lot of people.......if you want it.

You have to work for's not handed to you...

I loved that place......and would go again in a heartbeat.
Old 2nd November 2004
Gear Head
scott757's Avatar

Thread Starter
Thanks. This was the kind of response I was hoping for. I am very serious about being an engineer. In fact I plan on being one of the best. Now I know it's a pompous thing to say in such high company. But I don't see how else to approach this career. I'm willing to work for it. I love music, and I can think of nothing else that I would rather do for the rest of my life.
Old 3rd November 2004
Lives for gear
Thermionic's Avatar


Opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one, this is mine:

Do not bother with recording college. A trained parrot could pass most audio-college courses. You'll have little real-world experience, and by the time you blag your way into a position at a studio most the theory you ingested at school parrot-style will be forgotten.

The best engineers I know (which also happens to be the ones who can pay their mortgage as well...) have one thing in common: they have degrees in electronics.

The music industry is not in a good state, and there are probably more tutors and colleges than there are pro-studios in many towns...

A degree in electronics will get you a job for different reasons:

Not only will you be able to work the gear, but you'll be able to fix or modify it as well - for example: if they want better headroom on the buss in studio C, you'll know the relevant formula to replace the chip and re-compensate.

With the industry going into meltdown, it is more competitive than ever for jobs, therefore an AE with elec degree can fill 2 vacancies, i.e the hands-on guy, and the repair tech.

If the industry does get any worse, and the industry of the future becomes a bunch of home studios with PT lite, you will need your degree to get a job in broadcast or telecommunications, an AE qualification will carry little weight in these fields.

Best of luck to you!

Old 9th November 2004
Gear Head
AudioCourses's Avatar


Hi all.

Everyone seems to have a valid opinion here and certainly there is no "correct" option that fits with everyone.

Some people NEED a mentor and guidance, others don't. Plus education can yield many many other very positive outcomes, one of which may be an understanding of other employment options, along with general personality growth.

This thread is a good read for those considering college:

My School Sucks!

Good luck in your search.
Old 12th November 2004
Gear nut

Hi Scott,

I'm younger. I started apprenticing at a shop in high school. That eventually turned into a part-time job engineering younger bands late at night.

I was considering electrical engineering school, or recording school.

Then towards the end of high school I started recording different musicians who had completed various recording programs. In every case I knew more than they did about recording just from hanging around with open ears, and a strong will to learn. That ruled out going to recording school.

Obviously some schools are better than others. But if you have a strong will to learn save your money and get a job cleaning toilets at a studio. Watch and learn from the other engineers, come in after hours and work on the gear. When you're not at the studio read as much as you can in books and on the internet.

With this approach you'll save yourself a lot of cash, you'll probably learn more if you're into it, and you'll meet a lot of people who make records who might throw you work later on.

FWIW, the studio owners I know don't give a rats ass whether you have a degree or not. And they'd much rather hire someone who's paid their dues and worked their way up through their system.

just another opinion,

now I'm back to the ee books,
]6 months to go!

Old 13th November 2004
Lives for gear
JonCraig's Avatar

i have to stick up for the homeland here, and plug Middle Tennessee State University. great facilities, even better faculty. also a whole lot cheaper than belmont.

Old 23rd November 2004
thermionic, jason and JonCraig gave you very good advice. I went to American University for Audio Tech. While getting to use a facility for free for three years. I knew a guy who went to Middle Tennesee. He seemed to get a much better education than i did, and was the engineer for the studio at NPR studios in DC after he graduated. Pick your school wisely, don't go to Full Sail as most people regard that school as a joke. Showing you an ssl and which knob to twist to get a LPF is very different than showing you what is happening when you twist that knob and the signal flow science in getting tohe knob to affect sound. Yes some people will tell you that they hire people who work their way up and thats what you will have to do regardless of what choice you make, school or no. But if you go to school and you understand Ohms law, Thevinin, superposition, how TO READ RESISTORS, how modes affect monitoring conditions, the inverse square law and the circle of fifths, it would make it that much easier to learn more hanging around the studio listening to working engineers/producers talking while you wait to sweep the floor or replace a shockmount.
Old 24th November 2004
Motown legend
Bob Olhsson's Avatar

The biggest thing a school can do for you is that your fellow students will become the network of contacts that leads you to work. It's not about what you know, it's about who KNOWS how much you know.

I'd choose a school having an excellent music program with a RECENT track record of successful performers who have come out of that program. USC, NYU and Eastman come to mind. Friends of artists and producers frequently get the first shot at the best internships.

I'd take Belmont over Full Sail because they have a more extensive range of music and music biz programs. Same with Middle Tennessee. Nashville Tech, our community college, also has an excellent program that has the advantage of being small.
Old 24th November 2004
Lives for gear

Originally posted by Bob Olhsson
I'd choose a school having an excellent music program with a RECENT track record of successful performers who have come out of that program. USC, NYU and Eastman come to mind. Friends of artists and producers frequently get the first shot at the best internships.
Score... Got 2 of the 3 listed there (USC and Eastman)... heh

Seriously, though, this is probably the best advice on this entire thread. When you are working up from the bottom, make friends with folks in a similar position. All the careers have a tendency to feed off each other. If I hadn't gone to USC, I wouldn't be able to work in LA. I didn't even do the recording program, there- I was a grad student in classical music performance...

USC, BTW, has a very good recording program. Gives you lots of opportunities to work with the best in the biz and chances to record great musicians as a student.

Old 24th November 2004
Gear nut

Scott, I recently moved to Nashville for many of the same reasons. My understanding is that MTSU has the better of the two programs in terms of the education. I think it depends on what sort of stuff you want to do. Belmot, as some have put it is Pre Music Row. Also Belmont has more and frankly better facilities (They own Ocean Way in addition to the two or three studios on campus). If you want to work on music row then Belmont is the clear winner.
I like MTSU. I've found that it's more widely known outside of Tenn. Also like I said the education is regarded as being more comprehensive. It's significantly less money (especially if you have state residency). The student body represents much greater diversity. Also for me personally it's closer to where I work and live.

On another note what I’m about to say you probably already know. COMPETITION IS STIFF IN NASHVILLE!! It's by no means NY or LA but don't get it twisted. If you’re lucky you'll end up working on music row for close to nothing for years! Why pay a decent post secondary wage when there are so many people here who are willing to work for free.

Though you’re in a premium position to get the internship what's next? The industry as a whole is going down hill and there are way more applicants then there are jobs. Don't get me wrong if you’re as good as you say you are there's something here for you but what? With 100k in student loans over your head and a declining economic climate are you really ok with the ****ty money you'll likely be making. I hope you have some other plan to offset this.

I don't want to come off like I’m downing Nashville it's a great place with great people. I'm just exchanging my observations thus far. Also I’m hoping to participate in some dialog to aid in creating alliances with other engineers here and elsewhere. We can not rely on these antiquated ideas of jobs=lifestyle & security. IMO the project studio is the future and sole means of survival for most of us (as far as this industry is concerned).

Does anyone else see what I’m seeing? While the entire infrastructure that makes up the industry as we knew it is changing the people that make up that industry are in a unique position. Chris Stone (former owner of Hit Factory) said in his book the future industry leaders are going to be the ones that most effectively collaborate with the Project Studios. Yet what if that industry leader was us? What if we collectively put the infrastructure in place to allow us the resources that many of our small companies lack? Also in turn creating a truly collaborative environment.

Sorry I got somewhat off topic but not really. None the less I would highly recommend Nashville I'm not from here but I'm proud to call it home.
Old 1st December 2004
Gear Head
scott757's Avatar

Thread Starter
Thanks for all the advice guys but I've decided to go with Fullsail. I've spent a lot of time talking to them and they seem to offer everything that I'm looking for.

I was looking into Belmont. But I just don't want to do a 4 year school, as I am getting older and will be getting married within the next few years. It just seems to work out better with my life plan.

The the "booo's" and rotten food throwing now commence...
Old 10th December 2004
Gear Maniac


Did you end going to FS ?

It may be too late but I'd like to second Bob and Benjamin's comments. I was classically trained at a respected conservatory and I'd reasonably say that 70% of my work is through my contacts there who know me as a musician.

I think that the future is going to be small-medium sized shops which are basically nodes in networks of people. So, it's in your interest to place yourself in the center of a network of musicians.

Also, the more training and exposure to music you can find, the better off you'll be. I found that my technique developed only as far as my understanding of musical issues went.

Anyway, that's my opinion. Good luck with the school.

Old 10th December 2004
Gear Head
scott757's Avatar

Thread Starter
Thanks. I havn't started yet. But I will be starting next October.

I have another question. What type of work could I typically expect to find right out of school? I know I am going to probably have to do some interning. So I guess what the better question is...should I be looking at bigger studios? Or smaller ones? Which one is most satisfying to work in?
Old 10th December 2004
Gear maniac

as per your last question. you 'll have a better chance of getting money at a small studio right off the bat, but you can get free time in the big studios and get no money. you wont touch a board for a while in a big one , and you'll probably get the keys to the small one soon enough. in LA the interns at the big studio were there for 3 years with no money. in any small town there is a local studio that the engineer is already burnt and you can finish the sessions right away. then you start bringing in your own clients and now you are the client. they court you for business. it is a hard road but [email protected]#*ing great. if there is -any-other- thing you would do with the time in the day, do that , not recording. if there is nothing you would rather do, then welcome to the club.
Old 10th December 2004
Gear Head
scott757's Avatar

Thread Starter
That's awsome. When you say smaller studio do you mean smaller as in, not so big name acts recording there, but still high quality. OR just a kind of cheap studio that puts out mediocre recordings?
Old 18th December 2004
Gear nut

Originally posted by djui5
I went to FullSnail (FullScam, "Full Sail, We take your dreams......sierously")

Then all depends on how sierous

But if you are sierous about being an Engineer......
LOL! No spelling courses at FullSail ??

Hehhe, j/k - but "i before e, except after c"

Old 18th December 2004
Lives for gear
hollywood_steve's Avatar

Just for something different......

You probably aren't interested in a 4yr program, but have you considered a "real" engineering degree? The advantages include allowing you to pursue a reasonably high paying career while getting your own studio up and running. Plus you can learn more about computers, electronics, music, etc. than you ever could at a recording school. (for example, at my school, we were abe to cross register at New England Conservatory, a SERIOUS music school, which had a nice little 16 track studio back in the dark ages when I attended.) YOu can probably get credit for any recording classes you take from a Full Sail type of program and you end up with a Bachelor of Science instead of a certificate. Just a thought.
Old 19th December 2004
Gear nut

Full sail has a bachelors of science degree for there 2yr program. The problem is accreditation. If you want to do something outside of audio or go for a masters, good luck.
Old 23rd December 2004
Lives for gear
Paul Gold's Avatar
Originally posted by gpcramseysoral
Full sail has a bachelors of science degree for there 2yr program. The problem is accreditation. If you want to do something outside of audio or go for a masters, good luck.
I would say the best program in the US in the University of Miami. It doesn't look easy. It's half music performance and half EE. With an added fifth year you get a BSEE.
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